Materials Girl: Expectations

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Posted on behalf of Materials Girl

In discussions with various professors, I’ve noticed that researchers seek out an interesting range of qualities for their minions – aka: grad students. One absolutely required creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. The next expected independence and strategizing, while insisting that he himself was not the greatest of researchers (he’s amazing and brilliant).

Another said that inherent intelligence and academic background were irrelevant – he just wanted his students to work hard. (This was not too concerning. That is, until I was told that the HR lady received complaints from a different prof who was displeased that his students didn’t come in every weekend… Uhh…) My own advisor never asked for my experience or qualifications, being seemingly content with the fact that I was excited to be in the lab and willing to try anything.

So then, what other characteristics are required? Which are the most important, and to what branches of study?